If Cleveland Glenville is to have any semblance of a passing game for
this upcoming season, they’ll need to get some major production from one
of the fastest high school players in the state. That player is Justin Hardee…
If Cleveland Glenville is to have any semblance of a passing game for this upcoming season, they’ll need to get some major production from one of the fastest high school players in the state.
Justin Hardee was a member of the state championship 4×200 relay squad as a sophomore last summer and will now be one of the top receiver targets out on the perimeter as a senior for the Tarblooders in 2011.
“I’m 6-2 and I weigh about 175 pounds. I’m fast, strong and a hard worker,” said Hardee when he was asked to introduce himself. “I ran on the state championship 4×200 team, I popped it off (opening leg), but this year I’m trying to get a single race, run in an open and win in that, and also get the whole team a state championship in track.”
The confidence that came with winning that state championship in track last year followed him into the 2010 football season.
“It made me feel like I was a better person and it also made me think better of myself, made me have more confidence in myself,” Hardee said. “My speed on the football field was way better than other players and it showed.”
His expectations were obviously high going into his junior campaign on the gridiron, but his season was hampered from the outset by a hamstring injury.
“My expectations were trying to get as many (receptions) as possible, do the best that I could do, work hard and just do all the right things, on and off the field,” Hardee said. “But I had a lingering hamstring, that’s why I didn’t play as much, so I had to get over that and keep working hard.”
So is Hardee a track guy that plays football or a football guy that runs track?
“I’m a football guy. I can do track also so I have something else to rely on,” he said. “But definitely I’m a football guy that runs track.”
Because of the hamstring injury, however, Hardee got most of his quality work in on the practice field last season.
“I really didn’t get in that much during the games but I could see that at each practice I got much better,” Hardee said. “Just going against top-notch players like (Devan) Bogard, (V’Angelo) Bentley, (Sean) Draper and (Aykee) Henderson, those guys making me better, I became a better player.”
Of course, Hardee will run track again this spring for the Tarblooders, who have not won a state championship in each of the past three years now after winning five state titles in a row.
“Go hard or go home,” Hardee said. “I’m going all out trying to help my team win a state championship. Whatever Coach Tone (Tony Overton) asks of me, I’m going to do it.”
And then he’ll approach his senior season on the gridiron in the same manner.
“I want to help get my team to the state championship and be a leader at all times,” Hardee said. “I’m going to work hard, lead by example and bring the legacy back where it was found.”
Football is definitely his main sport as far as Hardee getting to the next level.
“Football is so important to all of us. It’s my ticket to college,” he said. “It’s a big part of my life, I’ve been playing football since I was 6 years old and it’s always had a big part in my heart.”
So he just wants to live up to his physical potential as a football player now.
“I just have to work hard and not get any big head or anything,” Hardee said. “Just continue to work hard and do whatever I’m asked and do everything 110 percent.”
And he’ll do it all while wearing No. 19 again for the Tarblooders.
“I’m going to keep 19 going and represent little Ted Ginn,” Hardee said. “I want to turn that number out to be the best number Glenville ever made.”
To say that Hardee is excited about his future might just be a bit of an understatement.
“I’m real excited about my senior season coming up,” he said. “I have to do it for me, my mom, my family and my life.”
Currently absent any offers early in the process, Hardee is an “all As”
student at the Ginn Academy and he takes college classes at Cuyahoga Community College.